ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. – St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Florida Fish and Wildlife officials responded to a call about an alligator bite incident on Monday.
Neighbors told Local 10 News that 85-year-old Gloria Serge was walking her dog when she was dragged into the water by an alligator at the Spanish Lakes Fairways 55 and older community.
One resident, 77-year-old Carol, said it was just past noon when it happened.
“I heard kind of like a commotion,” she said. “I looked out and I saw the dog and I saw my neighbor.”
Carol first called 911 and ran, trying and hoping she could help.
“I just remember her coming up and pushing her hair out of her face and I’m saying, ‘Swim toward the paddle boat,’ and she said, ‘I can’t, the gator has me,’” Carol said.
“I got my longest Shepard’s hook to try to hook her or hit him or do something,” Carol continued. “Hit him on the nose or something. I couldn’t do anything, which haunts me right now.”
The victim was recovered, and a contracted nuisance alligator trapper captured the 11-foot-long alligator involved in the incident.
“(We) snagged him on the bottom and he never surfaced. He stayed down the whole time,” an FWC official said. “We were able to get a second hook in him and get a hard line in him so we could him up.”
Neighbors told Local 10 News that they often see dozens of gators, of all sizes, at Spanish Lakes.
We’re used to seeing them but they’re usually not doing anything,” said Charles Hermann. “They just lay in the sun so you wouldn’t expect it.”
But finding out about their neighbor Gloria’s death, which happened right behind their home, has left many people shocked.
“Oh my god, this is horrifying,” said Brigitte Hermann. “We won’t forget that.”
Authorities said the victim’s dog survived and is in good condition.
According to an incident report by the FWC, the alligator was caught and was later euthanized after the attack.
“The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission places the highest priority on public safety and administers a Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program (SNAP) to address complaints concerning specific alligators believed to pose a threat to people, pets or property,” the FWC said.
People with concerns about an alligator should call FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286).